Sunday, May 24, 2009

Let's start at the very beginning...

The overwhelmingly glorious and sunny weather here in Portland has for the past few weeks been in large part responsible for my unplanned vacation from Blogland. Late spring and early summer always a bit of a crap shoot as we move from the rainy season into the less rainy season and, finally, the two weeks we call "summer" here in Oregon. This year, however, we have been blessed with May weather fit for the gods, which made our first bout of sunshine the perfect time to skip the bike ride I'd had planned with a non-Captain loving (but very understanding) friend to stay inside and go to a movie.

Crazy, I know. But this wasn't just any movie! This was Cinema 21's singalong showing of The Sound of Music, an event I've wanted to go to for ages. In years past, I've always managed to find out about it just after it was over. This time, however, I faithfully remained on heightened Code Red Von Trapp alert from March-May until Portland's non-Nazi answer to Rolf (aka Willamette Week) provided me with a telegram (aka advertisement) for the showing. After singing a duet of "60 going on 70" (because I'm slightly albeit still depressingly closer to 60 than 16), we went our separate ways, but not before dancing in a gazebo to promises that WW would look out for me, because I'm just a dumb girl who needs a newspaper of masculine intelligence to take care of me.

The thing about singalong Sound of Music is that it's The Sound of Music AND you can sing along with the movie and - get this! - NOT GET KICKED OUT OF THE THEATER! These things were made to go together, like peanutbutter and chocolate, braised red cabbage and apples, alpenhorns and stupid hats! So, on the big day we headed off to Muu Muu's for lunch (even after many years, a Muu Muu Burger and fries with and a side of brutus dressing are a thing of great delight!) and then got in line with a lot of other people to wait for the show.

Inside we were offered little bags containing plastic edelweiss and champagne-shaped confetti poppers for the party scene and advice for how to make the viewing more fun (like the singing along wasn't enough!). Still, the announcer was charming and it's hard not to be entertained at a movie where the audience includes a girl wearing a teapot on her head (she'd rode in on Max that way and won a prize for her costume!) and a family who had brought along a cardboard boat and waves to go along with their "play clothes" made from real curtains.

The cool thing about seeing a movie that I've seen a million times in that environment was that for all the silliness and talking back at the screen, it actually made me see the film with new eyes. For example, I'd never noticed how progressively darker the sets and lighting become as the story turns toward dealing with Nazism. As a kid I was too busy mooning over how handsome Captain von Trapp was to be bothered with such details. Back then it was all about the music, the Ländler (still my favorite scene in the movie, because the dance always reminds me of my Oma and the folk dances she loved) and the love story.

Like many little girls who grew up watching it, that movie always takes me back. I remember the first time my mom took me to see it on the big screen. Even then it was already at least a re-re-release. Afterwards, my little neighbor friend and I played the soundtrack album over and over, singing to it until we'd learned all the words. Then we took our show on the road, singing "Do re mi" at the top of our lungs as we played on the swingset in the back yard. And that's what's so fun about singalongs and silliness - it lets us be kids again.

How many times do you get to go out as an adult and yodel with reckless abandon while sitting in a crowded movie theater? Almost NEVER, that's when! Trust me. People don't like it! And, even if you did try, how often would someone yodel back at you? Sure, maybe if there were a particularly bold representative from the Helvetian Singing Society in the audience too, but how often does that happen? And you KNOW that you'd both be invited to leave before ever learning how to solve a problem like Maria. That is why the next time the hills are alive with singalong Sound of Music you should go. That way you'll get the yodeling out of your system and no longer be in peril of having a lonely goatherd attack at in a wrong cineplex at the wrong time. The audience at Pirates of the Carribbean 46: Yo ho ho and a bottle of Metamucil will thank you!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The darling buds of May

Helllllllllloooooooooooooooooo May! Hello Mayday! Hooray workers! Hello Beltaine and Walpurgisnacht! As someone who has recently determined that what the world needs is for me to have a Solstice picnic next month, I am deeply saddened that I did not remember about Beltaine or Walpurgisnacht until today. I feel like I should have thought ahead about the bonfire. I had planned to go to Ikea tonight, and I bet those Swedish killjoys won't let me light one there. Why must life be so unfair?

But I've got news for you, Ikea! It may be a little windy this morning, but the weather is getting nicer, the garden is bursting with blossoms and we are on the precipice of the sunny season. There are plenty of spring flowers to be gathered and candles to light for impromptu celebrations at my house. So take that, lye eaters! Thwarted again! (Not really, Swedes are lovely, Ikea has a computer armoire that I really want, I don't need to invoke bad shopping karma on such a momentous day, and I am sure lutefisk is "special". And, hey, who am I to judge? I come from people who smoke eels and eat pickled herring.)